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The Determinants of Canadian Foreign Policy

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  1. The Determinants of Canadian Foreign Policy An analysis of the factors that determine Canada’s approach to foreign relations

  2. Agenda • You will learn and consider: • The nature of Canada’s foreign policy • The key federal agencies that develop and implement foreign policy • Canada’s role in Afghanistan • Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth • Canada’s participation in global environment initiatives

  3. Key Terms • Middle Power: a moderately powerful nation, like Canada or Australia, that can act as a negotiator between more powerful nations and have some influence internationally • Foreign Policy: Foreign policy is a plan of action developed by governments in order to deal with questions concerning international issues and relations • Multilateral Approach: An approach pertaining to an agreement, treaty, or organization in which three or more parties participate (Canada takes this approach to establishing its international influence)

  4. Implementing Canada’s Foreign Policy • Canada’s foreign policy is influenced by internationally accepted codes of conduct • Through participation, Canada is able to influence and support developing countries and moderate the activities of larger and more powerful allies • Uses “soft” diplomatic measures such as trade, human rights discussions, and humanitarian aid, to “hard” diplomacy such as peacemaking (involving military action), economic sanctions, support for UN resolutions condemning the conduct of states

  5. Official Principles of Canadian Foreign Policy • Internationalism • Multiculturalism • Mediation • Compromise • Peaceful change • Do they all reflect domestic principles?

  6. Foreign Affairs and International Trade • Both are Canada’s MOST powerful federal departments • How are they different? Similar?

  7. Understanding The Difference • Foreign Affairs Canada • Manages Canada’s day-to-day international relations in order to promote stability, prosperity, and Canadian values in other countries • It works to achieve goals with international organizations through direct relations with other countries • It coordinates Canada’s responses to international security, including protecting Canadians and Canadian government facilities abroad, handling international terrorist acts involving Canadians through diplomacy

  8. International Trade • Role is to promote the country as a business leader and to negotiate trade agreements that will help Canadian business and compete in the international marketplace • Also responsible for regulating Canada’s imports and exports Which department in your opinion faces difficult foreign policy choices?

  9. Answer: International Trade • For example: in the 1980s, PC PM Brian Mulroney wanted to impose sanctions on South Africa during the era of apartheid • Both allies didn’t want that (Britain/US) • The government placed the need to enforce democratic principles in South Africa above the need to expand trading opportunities • Canada earned respect among African countries

  10. What Affects Foreign Policy? • Location • Economic structure • Alliance • Power

  11. Location Location is important because it determines Canada’s: Natural Resources. More to the point, location determines what natural resources we need from the rest of the world, and what the world needs from us. Our security interests based on our proximity to other nations (friendly and/or not so friendly). A nation with few boarders will obviously have a different foreign policy than a nation that’s surrounded by many potential enemies.

  12. Location Location also refers to where a nation ranks amongst other nations in the world. A nation like Canada ranks somewhere in the middle and therefore does not have the foreign policy burden of the United States or China. Location can also refer to a nation’s location vis-à-vis other world powers and its relationship with that power (e.g. Canada’s low defence spending affected by its proximity to the United States

  13. Economic Structure • The structure of a nation’s economy (i.e. if it is a diversified economy with primary, secondary and tertiary industries) will affect how it conducts its foreign policy. • For instance, the foreign policy of Canada (which has a developed diversified economy) will have a much greater scope and depth than the foreign policy of a nation whose economy is under-developed and un-diversified (e.g. a nation that has a single crop economy). More to the point, a nation that is developed will be less dependent on its neighbours and thus will have more independence in the formulation of its foreign policy.

  14. Alliances If you have alliances than your foreign policy will carry more weight in international affairs (e.g. Canada’s membership in NATO, la Francophonie, The Commonwealth, etc.) You will have greater sense of security which could impact how you communicate with other nations and how they communicate with you.

  15. Alliances However, alliances also bring with them an obligation to be a “team player”. As a result, alliances can have both a positive and negative impact on a nation’s foreign policy (e.g. Canada’s NATO defence budget and obligations in Afghanistan). Alliances can restrict a nation’s freedom in the sense that they are hard to break (e.g. Canada leaving NATO, or the Commonwealth) Finally alliances determine a nation’s friends and enemies whether they consent or not. For instance, the enemy of the United States is Iran, so Iran by extension becomes Canada’s enemy and vice-versa. Alliances have a massive impact on Canada’s foreign Policy

  16. Power Power is the ability of a person, group, or nation to get what it wants. In the case of governments, they can use soft power (e.g. persuasion), or hard power (e.g. military force)

  17. Power Essentially, power is the ability of a state to do what it wants given the tools that it has at its disposal (e.g. economic, political, social, military, etc). When a nation such as Canada conducts its foreign policy it needs to decide how to “play its cards”; that is, when to play them and how. Should Canada impose sanctions on Korea for its nuclear weapons programme? Should Canada impose sanctions against Iran? Does Canada have the power to translate foreign policy into meaningful change around the world? When? Why? Examples

  18. Questions Should Canada impose sanctions on Korea for its nuclear weapons programme? Should Canada impose sanctions against Iran? Does Canada have the power to translate foreign policy into meaningful change around the world? When? Why? Examples? What is Canada’s global reputation? Is our reputation threatened? What tools are at Canada’s disposal to further its interests around the world?

  19. The Role of Politics in the Military • Issue of military spending affects foreign policy • In 1980s, Liberal governments under Pierre Trudeau reduced military spending – foreign policy focused more on peacekeeping than on defence • One of the MOST controversial defence decisions was made in 1992, when Brian Mulroney’s PC government awarded a $5.8 billion contract to a European consortium to build 50 ED-101 helicopters to replace Canada’s aging Sea Kings • In 1993 federal election, the Liberals attacked the plan as a waste of taxpayers’ money – Chrétien cancelled the deal • Canada is the sixth-highest military spender among NATO countries and that, at $13.6 billion (in 2004), military spending is too high

  20. Informal Debate • Do you think the government could put money to better use? OR • Do you think military spending must be increased to ensure that members of the Canadian Forces can safely fulfill their roles as peacekeepers and defenders of Canada? • What about in post-911 era?

  21. The Canadian International Development Agency • To promote good relations, each year Canada distributes billions of dollars in international development assistance in the form of goods and services, human knowledge and skills, financial contributions to developing countries • The CIDA was created in 1968 to plan and implement Canada’s foreign aid programs • The largest share of Canada’s aid budget goes to the poorest countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America

  22. Human rights and Environmental Protection • Canada links foreign aid and human rights • As part of its policy, Canada has sometimes reduced or withdrawn financial aid to countries that have committed human rights violations  direct to organizations that promote democratic and human rights within a country I.E Amnesty International • Canada continues to provide aid to China  in spite of HR violations WHY? • China is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a vast potential market for Canadian goods and services